S.C. Democrat Greene urged to quit U.S. Senate race over obscenity charge
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Hours after Alvin Greene was nominated by South Carolina Democrats to run for the U.S. Senate, the state's party chairman called Wednesday on the unemployed Army veteran to quit the race after it was revealed that he faces a felony obscenity charge.
Greene's triumph shocked South Carolina's Democratic establishment. He didn't raise any money. He didn't have a Web site. And his opponent was a better-known former legislator, Vic Rawl, who had planned fundraisers for the fall general election.
Nevertheless, Greene drew 59 percent of the vote Tuesday.
"I believe strongly that the Democratic voters of this state have the right to select our nominee," chairwoman Carol Fowler said. "But this new information about Mr. Greene . . . would certainly have affected the decisions of many of those voters."
But Greene, 32, said he will not step aside. "The Democratic Party has chosen their nominee, and we have to stand behind their choice," he said. "The people have spoken. We need to be pro-South Carolina, not anti-Greene."
Court records show that Greene was arrested in November and charged with showing obscene Internet photos to a University of South Carolina student, then talking about going to her room at a university dorm.
Charged with disseminating, procuring or promoting obscenity, Greene could face up to five years in prison if convicted. He has yet to enter a plea or to be indicted.
Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Wednesday that it had not looked into Greene's background.
"We take our efforts and time in the states where we have the greatest calculus of being able to engage and win," Menendez told The Washington Post, "so we weren't engaged in South Carolina."